An anteater, like its name suggests, eats ants. Okay, not just ants, termites as well. But ants are the main meal for this odd looking animal. This interesting mammal is closely related to our lazy friend, the sloth. Did you know that an anteater doesn’t have teeth at all? Never the less, our toothless friend uses its incredible tongue instead!

anteater

Where does an anteater live?

This giant can be found through South and Central America. Although, other species are also native to Southeastern Mexico, Uruguay and Brazil. As far as habitat concern, anteater loves to be in tropical and dry forests, savannas, and open grasslands, where the ants upon which it feeds are abundant.

anteater

Size and appearance.

So, our fuzzy friend is covered in grayish brown fur with white front legs, black stripes running from its chest to its back, and a bushy tail. The mouth opening of the muzzle is small, but the salivary glands are large and secrete sticky saliva onto a worm-like tongue, which can be as long as 24 inches! Moreover, this giant can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh 40 to 140 pounds.

Ant feeding.

Naturally, this amazing mammal is specialized for feeding on small insects. But, since some of them can be tough, our friend is covered here too! So, to avoid jaws and stings, anteater has the feeding strategy of licking up large numbers of ants and termites as quickly as possible! And so, our worthy friend goes from nest to nest and sucking whatever he finds. To fill his belly, he will visit up to 200 nests a day! That’s a lot of work, and eating! But, he will never destroy a nest, better preferring to come back again in the future.

Reproduction.

These animals are generally solitary. Females have a single offspring once a year. Pups leave their mother after two years, when they’re considered fully grown. But, until that happens, they’ve been seen riding on the mother’s back. Why not have some fun, right?

Although anteater isn’t dangerous, it still can be fierce. If provoked or attacked, this tough guy will fight back. His claws are four inches long, and can even fight off a puma or jaguar!

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